County Fair

NOM’s Idea Of “Respect”: Targeting The Children Of Pro-Equality Politicians

October 13, 2011 1:02 pm ET by Carlos Maza

This past weekend, National Organization for Marriage (NOM) board member Maggie Gallagher waxed poetic about the importance of showing “respect for the citizens who disagree with us.” Apparently, that “respect” doesn’t extend to those citizens’ family members.

When Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) announced last month that she would be the first Republican to co-sponsor legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), NOM went into a tailspin.

At first, the organization suggested that Ros-Lehtinen had caved to “pro-gay-marriage millionaires” who have been using “an enormous amount of money and brainpower” to silence anti-gay Republicans:

[NOM Blog, 9/27/11]

NOM even promoted a group that suggested Ros-Lehtinen had accepted bribes in exchange for supporting DOMA repeal.

On Wednesday, however, NOM tweeted a new explanation for Ros-Lehtinen’s DOMA position:

[NOM tweet, 10/12/11]

Taken out of context, NOM’s tweet might seem pretty harmless. In reality, Ros-Lehtinen’s experience of having a transgender child may very well have impacted her views on LGBT equality and, by extension, DOMA.

Coming from NOM, however, the tweet is a lot less benign.

NOM’s feelings about transgender people aren’t exactly a mystery. Last week, NOM referred to a transphobic advertisement as “pro-family” and criticized the parents of a transgender child for engaging in “human experimentation.” In NOM’s eyes, pointing out that Ros-Lehtinen has a transgender son is, in and of itself, a criticism of the representative. Being tied to – and having your decisions influenced by – a transgender person is, according to NOM’s apparent views, something to be ashamed of.

Moreover, NOM refers to Ros-Lehtinen’s transgender son, who identifies as male, as a “daughter.” While it’s not possible to know exactly why NOM used the word “daughter” in the tweet, intentionally using the wrong gender to refer to a transgender person is a common tactic used by anti-LGBT groups to trivialize transgender people’s experiences and depict them as delusional.

Sadly, this isn’t the first time NOM has targeted a family member of a pro-equality politician. On October 3, the group mocked openly gay Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) after he announced the birth of his son, writing “Rep. Jared Polis Announces With Pride His Child Has No Mother.”

When it comes to being respectful in the debate over marriage equality, NOM still isn’t practicing what it preaches.


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